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Schools in England face ‘significant squeeze’ on budgets, IFS report finds | School funding

Schools in England are still facing “significant strain” on their budgets despite extra funding from the government, while colleges, universities and early childhood facilities are facing rising prices without extra help, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The IFS’s annual survey of education spending shows that secondary and sixth-form colleges could experience particular hardships, with student numbers rising after major budget cuts through 2019, only partially reversed by the government.

The funding situation for colleges and sixth forms is expected to worsen as the number of 16- to 18-year-old students increases by an estimated 200,000 by 2030, with the government scaling back Department for Education (DfE) spending plans beyond 2024.

College spending per student will still be about 5% lower in 2024 than in 2010, while sixth grade spending per student will be 22% below 2010 levels.

Luke Sibieta, the report’s author, said colleges and sixth forms are “in a much worse position” than schools with students up to age 16.

“They’ve seen bigger cuts over the past decade, which are only partially reversed. Unlike schools, they did not receive extra money in the autumn statement for higher-than-expected costs,” says Sibieta.

Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, said: “The Conservatives’ economic mismanagement means that students as well as our youngest children are once again being forgotten and ignored. Parents are already facing skyrocketing childcare bills, but today’s report shows early childhood providers face skyrocketing costs for another three years.”

University students have also seen less spending, after successive freezes on the cap on tuition fees cut spending per student in England by around 11% between 2017 and 2021 in real terms – bringing spending back to 1990 levels. go even lower due to policy commitments to freeze tuition until 2025,” the IFS said.

While the government gave an extra £2.3 billion to schools in England over the next two years, the extra funding will bring spending in 2024 back to the same level as 2010. It follows real-world cuts of 9% per pupil between 2009 and 2019, the sharpest decline in more than 40 years.

The IFS calculated that total spending on education in 2021 will be about 2% lower than in 2010.

“While the share of total spending on education has been falling, the share of the UK population in full-time education has risen from 18% in the early 1980s to a record high of 20% in the 2000s, where it is today the day still is,” the IFS noted.

“In sharp contrast, as the share of the population over the age of 65 has increased, the share of total health care spending has more than doubled from just over 9% in the late 1970s to over 20% today.”

A DfE spokesperson said the government was working on “ambitious” reforms to improve economic growth.

“In recent years we have transformed the skills landscape by introducing new high quality T-levels, skills boot camps and Institutes of Technology backed by £3.8bn over this Parliament. In the autumn statement, we announced that Sir Michael Barber will provide advice on skills implementation to drive implementation of these reforms.

“This is in addition to a significant £750 million boost to our world-class higher education sector,” said the DfE.

“We are committed to improving parents’ access to affordable, flexible childcare and are currently exploring a wide range of options to do so. We have already increased funding to local authorities to increase the hourly rates they pay to childcare providers and have invested over £20bn over the past five years.”

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